By Nimer “Neem” Basha
Pearl Naidoo lived a sheltered life in South Africa. She came to the United States eleven years ago with big dreams. And now Pearl is a highly-respected and successful fashion designer with an exquisite jewelry line, who gets to work alongside great artists that she idolized when she was a young girl.
Pearl’s career has come full-circle as she is now an international businesswoman, making her mark both in her homeland of South Africa and her home-away-from-home, right here in the United States. The journey over these last eleven years has been a remarkable one. As you enjoy the pictorial layout of Pearl’s wonderful designs, check out the tale of how it all came to be — and you’ll understand how she comes up with her funky and innovative styles.
This is Pearl Naidoo’s story.
Hi Pearl, thanks for joining me today. We love your jewelry line and we’re thrilled to be featuring it in this issue!
Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
So, take me back on how this all started.
Well, I am from South African descent. I came to the US eleven years ago. I had no idea what to expect. When I got here, I worked as a nanny for three years. I eventually met a celebrity stylist named Kithe Brewster who gave me an opportunity to work as his assistant. I went from being a nanny to helping design runway events. I even helped put together the wedding on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I worked with Lucy Liu, Beyoncé, and other celebrities. That was my foot in the door.
So you’ve been in the fashion industry ever since?
Yes, pretty much. I started designing jewelry. I started small. People bought two or three pieces. It got to be a good side income. So I started designing more jewelry to catch up with bills.
How did the jewelry business take off to the next level?
Renowned publicist Ashley Priest introduced my work to the fashion industry. Ashley was a fan of my work and helped me with public relations, which gave me a big boost. So, I started doing sponsorships, contributing to gift bags at fashion events, and eventually the word of mouth was there. People knew me. They knew my work. I’ve had a great run the last few years! And now, I’m moving back to my homeland of South Africa to open up a store there.
Tell us about the store in South Africa.
I’m going to be sharing a showroom with Haroun Hansrot, one of biggest designers in South Africa. So, the Pearl Naidoo brand will have its homebase there. I want to have a presence in South Africa and in New York City. I’ll still be in New York for fashion week and several times throughout the year, but my manufacturing homebase and hub will be in South Africa.